Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Last Remains of Someday

Last weekend I worked at Rooster T. Feathers. Not just a cool little club to work at, but it also comes with an amazing perk; the Grand hotel. The Grand is one of those silicon Valley Boutique hotels I could never afford to stay in unless the comedy club I was working at put me up in it. It was like a mini vacation for the Easter weekend. Like a lot of things in my life however, it has a connection to the X. In fact, it's odd how much of a connection it has to Sam. It was the last place in Northern California we stayed at before we climbed into a U-Haul after a weekend of shows and headed down to L.A. for our life together years ago.
You know the rest of that story.
After we got back together, it was the place where we found Sam her ring. Allow me to explain. After we got back together and she agreed to move to San Francisco, it suddenly became very important to her that she have a ring. I had no problem with this other than I wanted it to be a surprise; not something that was a necessity. We looked everywhere for a ring that was suitably unique. We searched art fairs down by the Fairy Building on the weekends and even went to the jewelry counter at such stores as Macy's in a mall. No matter where we looked, nothing either fit her slender fingers or they just looked like a million other cookie cutter variations we had already seen. Then, one day she went to a thrift store a block from the Grand Hotel while I worked Roosters. The disheveled place seemed out of place in Sunnyvale, but sure enough in a separate room in a beat up glass case sat a tiny gold ring. It was a simple gold band. The plan was, I buy it, take it to an expert and have them make it unique in some way.
Long story painful, the ring has remained on my window sill in my room for more than a year now. I don't know what to do with the damn thing. Then it occurred to me; I will be in the same place this weekend; return it to it's source. Insert whatever Lord of the Rings joke you have here.
But it made sense. Just bring the thing back and get whatever money I can for it so I can just be done with this chapter of my life once and for all.
Short story mildly painful.
I couldn't do it.
I walked around the block a few times fingering the ring in my pocket amazed at my inability to walk in the shabby little store and sell this haunted piece of gold back to them. Closure, it turns out, is never that simple. That's when I also realized that I still had her number in my phone. With my phone in my hand and a few more trips around the block, I managed to hit delete. In the digital age, this constitutes moving on.
The ring came home with me for the second time since I have owned it. Looking around my room I also realized how much crap accumulates when your not paying attention to being in the now. My heart is somewhere on a 2004 calendar and my head is dreaming of that eventual fame. But now; now I have a room that is more museum than bedroom.
I got some garbage bags and shoe boxes and started doing the difficult work of separating out what stays and what goes.
The ring and photos of us now sits in a shoe box. I wish there was a way to put the anger in there too, but no such luck. I already tried filling the bottles of vodka I emptied with it too, but it doesn't work.

Once, when we were living together, I was looking for space in the bedroom closet. On the shelf, I found three or four plastic boxes. Inside were cards and photos of Sam's previous boyfriends. Sealed away and preserved like specimen's in formaldehyde, this is what became of those times spent in other lives. Undoubtedly, that's where any trace of me is now. Course, I have done the same thing too. In the tiny confines of a card board shoe box sits a life. I don't know, maybe I should just take it all down to the beach and burn it. Every time I move, I drag another chunk of what was suppose to be along for the ride. At 39, most of what I own now is boxes I will never open anyway. It's not just the remains of relationships, it's movies I will never watch again, clothing that is out of style or no longer fit's, notebooks and journals I can barely bring myself to read- all just stuff that takes up space. Space that was meant to be the someday we were reaching for. That's what those boxes hold-the last remains of someday.


Michal Hyde said...

I don't know how well this would work for you, but when I got my heart stomped on I burned all the pictures I could find of her. Singly. Slowly. Waiting until each one was fully consumed before lighting the next. I burned all the pictures of us together last.

Then I cried like a little bitch, closed the BBQ, and started down the road to forgetting whatshername.

Eh, couldn't hurt.

Joe said...

I like the idea. I have thought of it myself a few times. I am not sure what it is that stops me from doing that. I suppose it is a sign that I am not really over the whole thing. There is a very real permanence to burning. No way to avoid the exchange of happier times for ash. I also think, years from now when I am truly old and sitting around with friends and a cup of tea, I would like to be able to pull out a photo of her and smile with no trace of today's bitterness. I would like to be able to say, "This is the girl I loved when I was a younger man. It's too bad what happened between us, but I found a way to forgive her and me for all that happened." I would like to be able to say that someday. For now, I am just not going to open that box. It's just sad to me that those three years and broken promises fit in such a tiny space. I think that's another thing that just hurts; all that love and hope took up the same space as a new pair of shoes. That's one way to gauge a life together I suppose.

Joe's Past said...

Joe, please just know that those "things" are really nothing. Rings, letters, ticket stubs, even bricks...they're all just anchors that weigh you down.

Remember the past. That means the good times and the bad. Move forward, or stand still. But don't try to carry more than what fits in your head.